What Exactly Is Hemp? –
According to the USDA website, hemp is defined as:
“The term “industrial hemp” includes the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part or derivative of such plant, including seeds of such plant, whether growing or not, that is used exclusively for industrial purposes (fiber and seed) with a tetrahydrocannabinols concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis. The term “tetrahydrocannabinols” includes all isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers of tetrahydrocannabinols.”
Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant: Cannabis. The hemp legalized for production in the Farm Bill is defined as cannabis plants that have THC levels of 0.3% or lower on a dry weight basis. Often called industrial hemp, this type of cannabis is used primarily for seed and fiber production or cannibidiol extract — known as CBD, which can be ingested for medicinal purposes
For thousands of years, until 1883, hemp was the world’s largest agricultural crop, from which the majority of fiber, fabric, soap, lighting oil, paper, incense, and medicines were produced. In addition, it was a primary source of essential food oil and protein for humans and animals. Hemp seeds contain all the essential amino acids necessary for health. The oil from hemp seeds has the highest percentage of essential fatty acids and the lowest percentage of saturated fats.
Hemp farming runs parallel with the “Green” objectives that are becoming increasingly popular. Hemp requires little to no pesticides no herbicides, controls erosion of the topsoil, and produces oxygen. It’s also possible to grow hemp organically on most of the world’s farmland. There are many varieties that can be selected for their various characteristics – high oil content or fibers of particular lengths – with seed banks holding over 100 strains of industrial hemp.
A crop for the future? With modern farming in big trouble, farmers are being paid not to cultivate their land, and food mountains are burnt in developed countries, while billions of people go hungry in developing countries. Hemp represents a lifeline crop for rural and hunger-prone areas, of particular value for its’ versatility and organic nature. A famine-stricken village could clothe, house and feed themselves from one hemp field! Hemp can be planted between 1-3 times a season, depending on location
A rapidly growing plant, hemp chokes out other weeds, has a strong resistance to most pests and so can be grown with other legume crops, maturing in just 8-12 weeks fulfilling it nitrogen requirements
An acre of hemp produces more paper than an acre of trees. Paper made from hemp lasts for centuries, compared to 25-80 years for paper made from wood pulp. The US Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper.
Hemp – the straight factsIndustrial hemp contains less than 1% of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana (which is also called cannabis). Trying to get high on industrial hemp is akin to trying to get drunk on non-alcohol beer. Hemp was forced from the market in the late 19th century by a campaign launched by newspaper magnates who also held controlling shares in the paper mill and cotton industry. It remains as one of the most scandalous yet least spoken about examples of fraud in world history.
In 1937, Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act which effectively halted hemp production in the United States. It was briefly overridden during the Second World War when overseas supplies dried up but the campaign, called Hemp For Victory, was quickly withdrawn after the war.
Hemp can be grown in virtually any climate or soil condition, and grows extremely fast, yielding up to 4 crops a year. Canada, China and France are major hemp producers. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp. Ben Franklin owned a mill that made hemp paper. But today the United States is the only industrial country in the world where the growing of hemp is prohibited.